the appetizer:

The Culinary Institute of America presents Vegetables, a comprehensive single-subject cookbook, with recipes like Lemon-Infused Greek Salad with Grape Leaves , Mixed Grill of Garden Vegetables with Charmoula, and Tomato Sampler with Pan-Fried Calamari.

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Tomato Sampler
with Pan-Fried Calamari

Serves 4

Some farm stands offer baskets of an assortment of tomato varieties with colors that range from a brilliant yellow to a deep dusky maroon that is almost black. We especially enjoy the contrast of hot, crunchy pan-fried calamari against the juicy tomatoes.

Cut the squid's body into thin rings approximately 1/8-inch thick. Rinse the rings and tentacles thoroughly in cold water, then blot dry on absorbent toweling.

Combine the flour, Old Bay seasoning, salt, and pepper in a large plate or pan. Pour milk into a shallow bowl.

Add the oil to a skillet (there should be about 1/4-inch covering the bottom) and preheat the oil over medium-high heat.

Dip the squid rings and tentacles into the milk first and then in the seasoned flour, turning to coat evenly. Immediately lower the coated calamari into the hot oil. Cook, turning the pieces occasionally, until the squid is golden brown on all sides, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the calamari from the oil and drain briefly on absorbent toweling.

Toss together the arugula and fris´┐Że with the vinaigrette and mound the dressed greens on a serving platter or individual plates. Add the tomatoes to the vinaigrette remaining in the bowl and very gently toss to coat. Top the greens with the tomatoes and calamari. Serve at once.

 

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Makes 2 cups

There are different grades of balsamic vinegar. Save the rich, syrupy, authentic balsamic to savor in small droplets as a dressing for perfect strawberries or a slice of melon, and use a less expensive variety for this salad dressing. Balsamic vinegar has a bold flavor and a dark color, so we've blended it with a bit of red wine vinegar.

Whisk together the vinegars, mustard, about 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Gradually whisk in the oil until it is all incorporated and the vinaigrette is smooth and lightly thickened (as the vinaigrette sits, it will start to separate). Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.

Just before serving, whisk the vinaigrette to recombine the oil and vinegars. Check the seasoning again and add the herbs, if using.

 

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This page created July 2007